Friday, May 27, 2016

Facebook Made Changes in its "Trending Topic List"

FBs Trending Topic List
After several conservatives blasted Facebook for its alleged bias towards liberal topics in its trending page, the social networking site is making several changes, the general counsel announced in a newsroom post last 24 May.

Facebook launched an investigation earlier this month after tech website Gizmodo cited an anonymous source who said the social network's "news curators" were instructed to artificially "inject" selected stories into Facebook's "Trending Topics" list.

Desktop users can see trending topics in the upper right side of their Facebook newsfeed. On the app, trending topics are visible after a user taps the search bar.

Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel, outlined in a newsroom post several changes the social network plans to implement, including no longer relying on a select list of news outlets and websites as a way to automatically nominate topics for the trending feature.

As a result, a "Media 1K" list of feeds, which were used with an algorithm to surface potential trending topics, will be eliminated, along with the ability to add an "importance level" to a topic based on its prominence in a top-ten list of media sources, according to Stretch.

Facebook is also planning refresher training for all reviewers and pledged to add more information in its help center about how the Trending Topics feature is populated.

"These improvements and safeguards are designed not only to ensure that Facebook remains a platform that is open and welcoming to all groups and individuals, but also to restore any loss of trust in the Trending Topics feature," Stretch said.

Facebook's investigation was not able to discount the possibility of an individual straying from the policies or the potential for "unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies," Stretch noted.

Along with the investigation, CEO Mark Zuckerberg welcomed leading conservatives to Facebook's campus a few days ago for a discussion about ensuring the social network remains an open platform to all ideas.

"Our community's success depends on everyone feeling comfortable sharing anything they want," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. "It doesn't make sense for our mission or our business to suppress political content or prevent anyone from seeing what matters most to them."

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